Background: Passive smoking is associated with early arterial damage, but t
he potential for reversibility of this damage is unknown.
objective: To assess the reversibility of arterial endothelial dysfunction,
a key marker of early atherosclerosis.
Design: Cross-sectional study.
Setting: Academic medical center.
Participants: 60 healthy persons 15 to 39 years of age: 20 with no exposure
to active or passive smoking, 20 nonsmoking passive smokers (exposure to e
nvironmental tobacco smoke for greater than or equal to 1 hour per day for
greater than or equal to 2 years), and 20 former passive smokers.
Measurements: Arterial endothelial function measured by noninvasive ultraso
Results: Endothelium-dependent dilatation was significantly better in forme
r passive smokers (5.1% +/- 4.1% [range, -1.2% to 15.6%]) than in current p
assive smokers (2.3% +/- 2.1% [range, -0.2% to 6.7%]) (P = 0.01), although
both groups were significantly impaired compared with nonsmoking controls (
8.9% +/- 3.2% [range, 2.1% to 16.7%]) (P less than or equal to 0.01 for bot
Conclusions: In healthy young adults, arterial endothelial dysfunction rela
ted to passive smoking seems to be partially reversible.